Only 23 jersey numbers have been retired in the PBA. There ought to be more, starting with these four at Purefoods
[Editor's note: First of a series]
BEING the face of the Purefoods franchise in its heyday, Alvin Patrimonio seeing his No. 16 retired by the only club he played for in his 16-year career felt just right.
It almost felt like a birthright, with the Mapua standout delivering six championships to the team while also winning four MVP awards.
And it couldn't be anymore of a storybook ending for Patrimonio, with the honor being bestowed upon him when he hung his sneakers for good in 2004.
Since then, only two other players were given that honor by the franchise.
Jerry Codinera, Patrimonio's old running partner who spent 11 years with the franchise, saw his No. 44 retired after being part of five Purefoods champion teams.
Rey Evangelista, who spent his 14 years in the league and won four crowns with the team, was also feted with his No. 7 jersey being retired as well.
Both were given the honor in a short ceremony back in 2014, coincidentally the season when the franchise completed the rare grand slam under the banner of San Mig Coffee.
Spin.ph, though, believes that there are four other Purefoods players who deserve to see their jerseys retired.
Here's our list.
James Yap (18)
Who else but "Big Game James"?
Yap, who was picked by the Hotdogs second overall in the stacked 2004 Draft, lived up to expectations and had two MVP trophies to show for it.
The Escalante, Negros Occidental native was just a natural born winner, as seen in his 12-year run with Purefoods.
Regardless of what name the franchise was carrying, Yap was the driving force for the Purefoods franchise, winning seven titles for the team including that grand slam in 2014. And in four of those seven championships, the gunner from University of the East was hailed as the Finals MVP.
Yap's tenure with the franchise came to a shocking end in October 2016 when he was shipped to Rain or Shine in a blockbuster trade for Paul Lee.
He remains at the top of his game, but when Yap decides to call it a career, it's almost a crime for Purefoods not to honor someone regarded as not just the face of the franchise but the face of the league as well.
Peter June Simon (8)
This one's already a foregone conclusion as the Magnolia top brass has previously announced Simon's jersey retirement.
Hard to believe that this guy fell through the cracks and fell to the fifth round of the 2001 rookie draft. But he proved himself for three more years, first with the Davao Eagles in the Metropolitan Basketall Association (MBA) and then with Fash Liquid Detergent in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
It was only in 2004 when Simon, who was named as the MVP of the 2003-04 PBL Platinum Cup, that Purefoods gave him a two-year contract.
The rest, as they say, is history.
A sureshot scorer in his 16-year career with the franchise, "The Scoring Apostle" was part of eight championship teams and was named as the league's Mr. Quality Minutes in 2008 and 2014.
Not bad of a career for the Makilala, North Cotabato-born guard.
Marc Pingris (15)
His inclusion in the PBA's 40 Greatest List may raise some eyebrows, but this one, there's really no need for debate. Pingris truly embodied the Purefoods' heart.
This Pozorrubio, Pangasinan native made a big impact the moment he got shipped to the Giants from FedEx in 2005 as he gave the Ryan Gregorio-mentored team the much needed defensive muscle down low. And in his first conference with Purefoods, he was the Finals MVP in its run to the 2006 Philippine Cup championship, forming a formidable trio with Yap and Simon.
In 2008, he was sent to San Miguel where he spent a year and a half before coming back to Purefoods in 2009 and once again, helped the team claim the 2010 Philippine Cup and stayed there for good.
In all, Pingris was part of eight championships for the franchise, including the San Mig Coffee grand slam run in 2014.
Surely, "Pinoy Sakuragi" also deserves to see his number retired when he decides to hang up his sneakers for good.
Kerby Raymundo (21)
Spending nine and a half years with the franchise, Raymundo deserves to see his jersey retired. The Orion, Bataan native wore No. 21 the moment he got to the league through Red Bull in 2000 and kept it when he went to Purefoods in 2002.
It was with the Hotdogs where Raymundo won three of his four championships, including the 2002 Governors' Cup where he was named as the Finals MVP. He also narrowly lost the MVP honor to his teammate Yap in 2006, which remains as his lone inclusion in the Mythical First Team.
Raymundo changed jersey numbers in 2008, wearing jersey No. 5 as he had that jersey when Purefoods claimed the 2010 Philippine Cup crown.
B-Meg soon traded him to Ginebra for JC Intal in 2012 and went back to his familiar No. 21, but he was already battling knee pains then and only spent a season with the Gin Kings. He was later on sent to Meralco but never played for the Bolts until he formally retired in 2015.
Curiously after Raymundo left Purefoods, his jersey was used three more times, all by imports. Denzel Bowles wore No. 21 in the Commissioner's Cup in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016, while Malcolm Hill and Kristofer Acox both used the jersey number in the 2017 Governors' Cup.
Dindo Pumaren (10)
The point guard in the franchise's first championship in the 1990 Third Conference, Pumaren was a part of four champion teams as he set the floor for Purefoods' main men Patrimonio and Codinera.
Roger Yap (13)
Yap spent seven years with the Purefoods franchise from 2005 to 2012, running alongside James Yap and won three titles with the team. He was named in the Mythical First Team in the 2005-06 season and got in the Mythical Second Team and the All-Defensive Team in 2009-10.
Rafi Reavis (4)
Already one of the most reliable centers in the league, Reavis reinforced Purefoods' frontline the moment he got from Ginebra in 2009. The 6-foot-8 Fil-Am beanpole won seven of his 11 rings with the franchise as he was a key piece in San Mig Coffee's grand slam conquest in 2014.
Think we missed anyone? Hit us up in the comments section on who you feel also needs to see their jersey retired by Purefoods.